OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – It’s been more than 10 years since Cathy Eaton started. The Facebook page is called “Lost Pets of the Omaha Area.”
“I think a month after we posted it, we were at 1,000 (followers) and when we hit 1,000 we were so excited, you know,” Eaton said. “I never imagined it would end up like this.”
Page started when he saw a dog wandering around his neighborhood. She didn’t know whose dog it was, so she posted a picture of it on Craigslist. She connected with the owner and worked with other community members for months, posting updates and dog sightings.
“I thought, there has to be an easier way to do this,” Eaton said.
So he turned to Facebook. The page now has nearly 60,000 followers. Its sole purpose is to help reunite lost and stray pets with their owners.
“About 20,000 — that we know of — have been reunited,” Eaton said.
It’s bigger than just a Facebook page. It turned into one non-profit organization. Volunteers from across the city are ready at a moment’s notice to help a missing pet.
“I mean, there are vet clinics that look at (Page), there are vet clinics that will take pets if someone finds them so they have a place to stay while they try to find an owner and equipment. “I’m doing it,” Eaton said. “If someone says ‘I got this dog,’ we’ll offer to send someone who’s available to scan it.”
Dozens of volunteers are equipped with microchip scanners. With the touch of a button, volunteers will know whether a found pet has a microchip or not. The technology, which has been around for years, has helped them reunite thousands of lost pets.
Eaton believes every pet should be chipped, so much so that his organization is helping pet owners get one for a fraction of the cost. This is part of the partnership with them. American Animal Hospital.
“Microchipping is really just as important as getting the core vaccine every year,” said Haley Denton, a veterinary tech at American Animal Hospital. “Especially if you have a pet that you love, that’s one of those things that’s really important to reconnect you.”
Instead of paying $40 to $60, the partnership means $10 in cash will cover it.
All pet owners need to do is call American Animal Hospital for an appointment, ask for a ‘Lost Pets of Omaha Area’ microchip, and bring $10 in cash to the appointment. This cash will also help other pet owners.
“We use it for the Angel Fund, which is for life-saving initiatives for pets if they’re not financially able to take care of it themselves,” Denton said.
The partnership has helped chip hundreds of dogs in the community over the past few years. Both Denton and Eaton say microchipping helps the entire community, which Eaton has discovered is full of people willing to help.
“I knew there were animal lovers, but I never realized how big a community of animal lovers it was until I started it. It’s been great,” Denton said. Denton said. “This is the best unpaid job I’ve ever had.”
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